Posts Tagged ‘lamp’

A Carriage Lamp

February 25, 2016

It is hard to imagine the difficulties people had getting around after dark – before the advent of batteries, torches and electric lights. Yet people did, and possibly at the speed of a fast horse pulling a carriage. We have a rather battered 19th century carriage lamp at our museum.

A 19th century carriage lamp at market Lavington Museum

A 19th century carriage lamp at Market Lavington Museum

This lamp is believed to have been made by a firm called Miller and Sons of Piccadilly in London and was given to the museum by Peggy Gye.

It is a paraffin lamp with a double wick burner and a polished reflector behind it so it can send as much light forwards as possible.

The double burner has a reflector behind it

The double burner has a reflector behind it

Here we can see the paraffin tank, the filler cap and the double wicks and the bottom of the reflector. It is a simple and elegant device.

Side windows allow some of the light to spill out that way which could be useful for spotting the edge of a road.

Side windows and the fastening clip

Side windows and the fastening clip

The substantial fastening clip can also be seen in this view.

This lovely item can be seen in our display of vehicle lights and other items at the museum.



February 11, 2015

One rule at Market Lavington Museum is that all items we have must have a real link to the parishes of Market Lavington or Easterton. Maybe thirty years ago, when the museum started, this rule was not followed with quite the same rigour. For among the artefacts that came to the museum back then was this one.


Now I’m not talking about the ruler for that does have real local provenance having belonged to Jack Welch. But why do we have a miner’s safety lamp? One thing is for sure. There are no coal mines, or, indeed, any type of mine around here. Our records back in the 1980s aren’t good and tell us that Peggy Gye gave it to the museum. She, of course, founded the museum and curated it for more than twenty years. But as to the origins of this lamp – we have no idea.

There is a local family called Davey. This is the same as the lamp’s patentee, Sir Humphrey Davey, but the local family have no known connection.

It is a nice item, but doesn’t really fit in our collection. It seems unlikely it was ever used in Market Lavington. However we have it and we keep it.

Acetylene Lamps

October 28, 2014


Our curator remembers a pun from his student days which went, ‘she was only a welder’s daughter but she had acetylene legs’!

At Market Lavington Museum we have acetylene lamps and here is one of them.

Acetylene headlamp used on a motorbike by the Williams family of Easterton

Acetylene headlamp used on a motorbike by the Williams family of Easterton

This is a motorbike headlamp and has the sort of clamp to allow it to fit on a standard lamp bracket. There’s a container for calcium carbide at the bottom and a drip feed water tank above it. The acetylene gas produced is fed to the burner where it produced a bright flame which was ‘concentrated’ by a reflective mirror to give a good beam of light out of the front.

This lamp was owned by the Williams family of Easterton and was cleared out of a barn at Court Close farm and given to the museum. It has suffered some of the ravages of time and the metal body is somewhat pitted and corroded, But it is still a lovely item and reminds us that electricity was not always king.

These days, with the growth in LED headlamps, maybe we should be finding a local example of a filament bulb headlamp to save.

A paraffin lamp

February 9, 2014

These days we really struggle without electricity. On those occasions, which really are quite rare, when we have power cuts, life rapidly turns into a misery and a cause for panic. Our heating fails because whatever the basic fuel, electricity seems to be needed. We have no lighting. Our phones and computers can’t get charged. We may lose internet access because our routers need their power. We can’t cook and we panic about what might happen to food stored in freezers. Yet well within living memory, many people just didn’t have electricity. Only people in their 90s will remember Market Lavington without electricity for the now vital energy supply arrived in 1927.

Before that, people had to make do with candles or oil lamps. We have several candle holders and oil lamps in the museum and today we look at a paraffin burning lamp which dates from the late nineteenth century and which can be found on the mantelshelf, above the range in the kitchen room at the museum.

Late nineteenth century paraffin lamp at Market Lavington Museum

Late nineteenth century paraffin lamp at Market Lavington Museum

This particular lamp has a carrying handle. It was for lighting your way to bed. Yes, remember that the stairway was probably the darkest and most dangerous part of the house at night time.

This lamp has a very elegant glass chimney which surrounds the otherwise naked flame. The wheel above the carrying handle is for adjusting the height of the wick. It was important to keep this just right. If the wick was made too tall then some of the paraffin would not fully burn and the lamp would have given off black smoke. Too little wick could make the lamp sputter and go out. In use, adjustments were needed all the time for the wick itself did slowly burn away.

This lamp once belonged to Mrs Gale who lived on The Spring in Market Lavington.

A paraffin lamp

January 15, 2013

Electricity came to Market Lavington at quite an early date. The wires arrived in 1927 so for many, that was the end of candles and other lamps. They were set aside for emergencies and also, no doubt, for trips to the outside lavatory. We have several paraffin and other lamps at the museum. Here is one of them.

Paraffin lamp from about 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

Paraffin lamp from about 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

There is a suggestion that this lamp could be made in Ireland. It is made of copper and brass with a glass chimney. It is believed to date from about 1900.

You can see a range of lamps in the museum. Why not visit us during 2013?


February 5, 2012

Market Lavington is in rural Wiltshire. Many parts of the village have little or no lighting, but even so there is light, for virtually all houses emit some light. How different it must hqave been during World War II when houses were strictly blacked out to prevent any stray illumination from guiding enemy aircraft to potential targets.

But even then, some light was needed in some circumstances. Of course, use of road vehicles was discouraged since they used vital fuel needed for the military operations.  However, some drivers needed to drive and possibly – a doctor, perhaps – at night. Cars, vans, etc used for essential purposes had to be allowed to light the road in front of them but it was crucial that no light escaped upwards and that the brightness was kept down.

Enter the car headlight blackout shield, a metal addition to the front of a lamp which provided a hood to stop light going up, louvres to make sure any light was angled downwards and a translucent screen to make the lighting a great deal less.

Second World War hood to obscure the light from a car headlamp. This item can be seen at Market Lavington Museum

Driving with such limited lighting must have been extremely difficult but had to be accepted for safety’s sake.

Our headlamp shield was found in a garage at Hawthorns, Kings Road and is now on display at Market Lavington Museum.

A Bread Cart Carriage Lamp

November 25, 2010

In times past, lighting was very different from what we are used to today. Even in fairly rural Market Lavington and Easterton we expect street lamps and we expect vehicles moving at night to be clearly visible and to deliver enough light for drivers to see everything.

In the days of the horse drawn bread cart night was a much darker time (and what glorious night skies people would have seen as a result). When the Notton family had the bakery business (based between the present Post Office and the Co-op) a couple of candle lamps on the cart were all they used for illumination. Of course, the speed they went was probably that of a walking horse, so poor light would not have been too dangerous.

One of the Notton’s lamps has found its way to Market Lavington Museum.

Carriage lamp from the Notton's bread cart believed to date from about 1880

At the time of the 1851 census, Thomas Notton was a baker and glover on High Street, Market Lavington. His son, Richard, born in 1827 in Market Lavington was running the business in 1861.

By 1871 Catharine Notton, widow of Richard was a baker on High Street, Market Lavington. It must have been hard coping with the business and a young family.

In 1881 Catharine, still only 60, was running the business with two sons who were adult and bakers by then.

One of these sons, Alfred was the baker in 1891, but mother Catharine was still there.

In 1901, the business was in the hands of Edward Notton, his wife, Helen and five children. Edward was described on the census as a baker and corn factor.

Edward was still a Baker in 1911. In fact Edward remained a villager until his death in 1941. He is buried in the churchyard.

After a brief look at the Notton family, back to the lamp, which we believe, dates from around 1880.